Pleasant Valley faces a food shortage as a resounding effect of the pandemic

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Kushi

The COVID-19 pandemic has a huge impact on school and its food service.

Kushi Maridu, Site Manager

As the PVHS school year starts up again, the school faces multiple food shortages due to transportation issues. 

On Sept. 15, 2021, senior Anna Penniston was denied lunch due to a food shortage within the school district. Penniston was coming back from her course at Scott Community College and went to the cafeteria to grab lunch before her next class began. 

“I asked the lunch ladies if there were meal items and one individual frantically said, ‘Sorry, we’re all out.’ This made me upset and frustrated because I was having a long day and I was hungry and ready to eat,” Penniston said. 

Penniston’s case was one of many throughout the school.

Aaron Shannon, PV’s Food Service Manager, shared his knowledge on this issue. “The main issue was the distributor, warehouse, and our delivery drivers; they were short handed. A lot of the workers quit and because of the pandemic, they weren’t coming in,” Shannon said. 

This labor shortage that Shannon described is prominent throughout the whole country. The insufficiency was caused mostly by the resounding effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As the country started opening up again, companies have begun putting more pressure on workers while keeping the wages the same. Many of these workers thought that using unemployment benefits until they found a better job would be better than working extra hours with no increase in payment.

To fix this issue with food delivery shortages, Andrea Mahler, PV’s Food Service Director, suggested that the PV school board should terminate their contract with their food distributor, Kohl Wholesale Distributor. This also caused the school to leave the school’s current food cooperation, Eatern Iowa School Food Cooperative. 

On Sept. 13, 2021, the school board carried out this idea and left the group. “We left our old group and joined the AEA Food Purchasing Cooperative because of the driver issues with Kohl Wholesale. Now, our distributing company is Martin Brothers Distributing Company,” Mahler clarified. 

With this new change, more people are optimistic of the future for the school food service. “We checked our sources and we’re certain that these issues won’t happen again with our new food distributor. Now, all the students can enjoy all our food again,” Mahler expressed. This optimism of the food shortage is vital for the school, moving forward.

Although the problem has been resolved in our district, the country is still plagued with a labor shortage. Only time will tell how the labor shortage problem will be resolved so America can go back to normalcy again.